Sunday, May 3, 2015

To the Traditional Latin Mass Community of Philadelphia

From the Rev. Fr. Harold B. McKale
May 3, 2015

I have what I believe is good news to share with you today. As I stated back in July when I took over the administrative responsibilities from Fr. Ron Check, I mentioned how important the Latin Mass is to me and that I would do everything in my power to promote and strengthen its presence for you in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Back in July 2014, Fr. Check was considering a move. I also believe that it is in our best interest for a variety of reasons such as an ability to use all liturgical options, improve parking availability and have access to facilities for social and other events before or after Mass.

It pleases me to announce that a new home has been found for us. Now no place is perfect, and each has its positive aspects as well as challenges.

It is my firm belief that this move is in the best interest of our long-term growth, so I offer the negatives first then the positives: - First, our new home does not have a pipe organ; it has an Allen organ; nonetheless, our Music Director, Steven Ball assures me that he can still provide the level of music to which we are all accustomed. - Secondly, the sanctuary has been changed in the wake of Vatican II; nonetheless, the altar is very beautiful; it is marble and has a praedella for the priest, and has a very workable sanctuary.

On the positive side: - We would have the ability to make full use of the liturgical options provided by the Church. - The church has its own parking lot. - Like Holy Trinity, the church is very fine looking inside and out. It was once known as the Cathedral of South Philadelphia. There is an area which we can utilize for socials and other events.

Here is the plan: I have already spoken to Msgr. DiGirolamo, thanking him for his gracious hospitality these past two years. It is my intention to send out postcards to anyone for whom I have an address as well as an e-mail.

Our last Mass at Holy Trinity will be Sunday, May 31. We will be moving that week, which I leave to John Lilley to coordinate and I am certain he will need your assistance.

On Sunday, June 7, the Feast of the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi, I hope you will join us at St. Edmond Church at 21st & Snyder.  Fr. Bartoloma will have the privilege of offering our first Mass there. It is a worship site of St. Monica Parish; the pastor is Fr. Joseph Kelley, and he is very excited to receive us.

May God bless you.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Heeding the Call of God: Reflections on the Priesthood

by Father Harold McKale

A priest friend of mine was speaking to me about another priest, and he said, “He really loves his priesthood.” I was taken aback and torn because I did not wish to correct my friend but at the same time felt an obligation to do so. It is not exclusively HIS priesthood. It is the priesthood of Jesus Christ in which he shares. Priests do not possess their own priesthood independent of Christ, but rather, each priest, a man with his own faults, temptations, and weakness as well as his own gifts, virtues and talents was called by Christ to share in His (Christ's) priesthood – to live out the Gospel as priest, prophet & king, leading and shepherding souls to heaven.

“For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office, so in the Church there are members of diverse importance, having various functions:” there are the faithful and there are shepherds, the priests appointed by Christ to guide souls.

To state that Jesus sanctifies and governs by means of His Church is to say that He sanctifies and governs by means of His Pope and the bishops in communion with Him. Jesus has placed all the powers given to His Church in the hands of His priests, who have been chosen by Him from among the people to become His ministers. “As the Father has sent me so I send you; He that hears you, hears me and that despises you, despises me.” The priestly dignity depends upon this investiture by Christ, this appointment as His representative and minister.

In his epistles, St. Paul recognizes on multiple occasions, that his vocation as an apostle, as a bishop, and as a priest came to him from Jesus Christ Himself. Indeed all of us have a vocation, a vocation to holiness which is lived out specifically as single, married, religious brother or sister or as a priest. A person is usually said to have a vocation in the restrictive sense when he is called by God to a higher state in life, implying a special relationship with God. The call to consecrate oneself to God is a special privilege which does not depend on one’s merit but on the pleasure of God alone.

Priests must be thoroughly aware of the great dignity of their call if they wish to live at the height of their vocation. Pope St. Pius X reminds us, “They must be holy because they are the friends and representatives of a holy God.”

The faithful on their part should see and venerate Christ Himself in their priests. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians gave them the exact meaning of this authority: “For Christ, therefore, we are ambassadors, God, as it were, exhorting by us.”

St. Catherine of Sienna cautioned her disciples to see priests only as “the dispensers of the Blood of the humble, Immaculate Lamb” and to overlook the faults which they might notice in them. We ought not despair when a priest sins, even gravely. A priest is a man, and therefore always remains fallible and capable of making mistakes, but this does not prevent him from being the Anointed of the Lord, marked forever with an indelible sign and having the power to consecrate the Body of Christ, to administer the sacraments, and to preach to the people in the name of God. Let our response be like that of St. Francis of Assisi who stated that he would receive the MBS from the hands of a sinful priest just as from a holy one; nonetheless, we always ought to pray to God for good holy priests and to pray for the sanctification of our beloved priests.

Without the priesthood we would be deprived of the Holy Eucharist; we would never have the consolation of hearing in the name of God, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”

"If there were no priests, churches would be deserted, schools become secularized, there would be no nuptial blessings, the dying would be deprived of final consolation, children would be abandoned to evil; all men would be totally immersed in misery with no one to raise them up and lead them to God, with no one to pray to Him in their name and welfare." But Jesus, the sole mediator between God & Man, willed to institute the priesthood to perpetuate among us, in a visible manner, His work of mediation, salvation, and sanctification. The priest accompanies us at every step of our life. Soon after our birth, he welcomes us at the Baptismal font; he administers the sacraments to us, he helps us to understand the Divine truths, he shows us how to lead a good life, blesses our efforts, sustains our footsteps, and strengthens us at our last agony.

He often works unseen and unknown, often misunderstood, never fully appreciated; yet his apostolic work is priceless, indispensable. Every Christian ought to be grateful for the gift of the priesthood; in the first place we should be grateful to Jesus who instituted it; then to those who perform its sublime duties. We express this gratitude, not only by showing our reverential respect and filial docility to God’s priests, but also by assiduously offering our prayers and good works for priestly vocations. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He send laborers into His harvest. As Pius XI stated, “What prayer can be more pleasing to the Sacred Heart of the Redeemer?... Ask and it shall be given to you: Ask for good holy priests, and the Lord will not refuse to send them to His Church.” To our prayers we must add good works “to awaken, foster, and help vocations to the priesthood.” Blessed are those families that have had the honor of giving a priest to God; blessed are all those who by their prayers, sacrifices, and good works help the formation of holy priests!

Not all of us are called to be priests and religious, but all of us are called to encourage these vocations. We can do that in three ways:

First, we can pray for God to call many more young men to the priesthood. Jesus actually commanded us to do this.

Second, we can pray for those whom God is calling to be given the courage to accept the invitation. This is especially important in today's world, which mocks the priesthood and consecrated life.

Third, we can encourage young people to give God the first shot at their hearts. Ask them if they have ever considered a vocation. Suggest that they go on a retreat at a seminary or a religious house to give God a chance to speak to them.

God operates in the world through His Church and especially through His priests. If He is calling you to be, his priest , do not be afraid! Have the courage to say, "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum."

For the rest of us, today we join our prayers to those of the whole Church, asking Him to send out more messengers through whom He can work.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

UPDATED: Upcoming Area Traditional Latin Masses -- Fall 2014

The following Traditional Latin Masses will be offered this fall at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia.

Sat. 10/11/14 - 12 PM -  Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
                        (Low Mass with hymns; Rev. Harold B. McKale, celebrant)
                        (Confessions heard in the Lower Church from 11:30 AM - Noon)

Tues. 11/18/14 - 7 PM - Feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul
                         (Sung High Mass/Missa Cantata; Rev. Harold B. McKale, celebrant)
                         (Rev. Michael Pawelko (of St. Joseph Parish in Ashton, PA), sermon
                         Palestrina: Missa Brevis

Fri. 12/12/14 - 7 PM - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Nativity Parish
                         (Low Mass with hymns, Rev. Harold B. McKale, celebrant)

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church
2535 E. Allegheny Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19134
Rev. Dennis Fedak, Pastor

Those interested in supporting the Traditional Latin Mass in Port Richmond through singing in the schola (choir) or serving as acolytes (altar servers), or in any other way giving of your time, talent, and treasure, please contact Father McKale at the Nativity rectory, 215-739-2735.

Also visit the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Traditional Latin Mass website,, for more information on area Traditional Latin Masses in the Delaware Valley Tri-State area.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Priesthood -- Part 3 of 3

In the hierarchy of holiness it is Mary as a figure of the Church that precedes all others in the path to holiness which is the call of all who participate in the royal priesthood of the Baptized. In her person, the Church has achieved perfection without spot or wrinkle. Within this Marian dimension of holiness the members of the Church, the Body of Christ, share in the Priesthood of Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. As priest, we unite ourselves to Him in our daily activities and lovingly offer them in union with the priest in Mass. As prophet, we accept and proclaim the Word of God in our daily lives. As king, we engage in spiritual combat by seeking to imitate Mary who embodies all virtues and holiness. The source of this common priesthood is Baptism and it is developed and strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation and sustained in the frequent and devout reception of Holy Communion where the Church receives from Her Bridegroom all her gifts. In this way, the Church fulfills her fundamental vocation to holiness for she is animated by the same Spirit who made Christ present in the womb of Mary. The Petrine dimension of Church involves the ministerial priesthood established by Christ which is ordered to the good of the royal priesthood of the faithful. It is through the manifold charisms in ministerial priesthood that Christ increases communion and love in the Church. At the end of John’s Gospel the Petrine dimension of the Church is presented as an act of love towards Christ as Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” As Christ the Head the Petrine dimension of the Church, preserving good order for the good of the members, guides the Members of the Church toward her Spouse Jesus Christ ever yearning for her mystical consummation and the fullness of her glorification as the Spouse taken up by the Lamb. Until then she journeys in time and in history awaiting Her Bridegroom to take her up as the glorified Church depicted in Revelation.

--Rev. Harold B. McKale

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Priesthood and Eucharist - Part 2 of 3

In the very heart of the Pascal mystery is the Holy Eucharist where one sees the unity of the Bride and her Spouse. Here is the unity spoken about in Genesis that the two shall become one. From the beginning of creation bridegroom and bride are made each for the other. The Church then is perpetually the ecclesia – feminine and receptive to her Spouse. Christ is most clearly the Bridegroom on the Cross in His sacrificial offering to the Father in the Holy Spirit which is made present on all the altars in the Church. Mary is not a priestess that is a sacrificing principle at the Cross; rather all she accomplishes in union with her Son. At the sacrifice stands Mary as an icon of the Church who enters into this mystical sacrifice through her consent to the immolation of her Son and is “plunged into an ocean of darkness” which draws her ever more deeply into a mystical marriage with her Son who becomes her Spouse. Into her soul Christ pours forth innumerable graces which flow from her like a torrent into the Church who mediates all graces from her mystical Spouse. As the Church is born in the heart of the Father, foreshadowed in the Old Testament, she, like Mary, is primarily born from Christ’s pieced side as an immaculate virgin as she is drawn further into an intimate oneness with the Trinity. It is in this manner that Mary is Co-Redemptrix and mediatrix of all graces. Mary’s act of faith at the Annunciation and at the Foot of the Cross shows her as a model of the Church in faith, in charity, and in perfect union with her Spouse. It also furthers her identification with the Church as Intercessor, which may also be seen at the Wedding of Cana. The Holy Spirit who is a hypostasis of love is poured out into the hearts of the People of God more fully revealing the Church at Pentecost through the prayers of Mary and the apostles.  

--Rev. Harold B. McKale

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Catechesis of the Petrine and Marian Dimensions of the Church, Part 1 of 3

Sinless Virgin Mother Bride

The Marian dimension of the Church involves Mary as the receptive Bride who stands as an archetype for the Church while the Petrine involves the hierarchical structure of the Church. In her Immaculate Conception Mary stands before God as the New Eve, His Beloved daughter of Zion. Here she being sinless and free from original sin is totally free as was Eve to chose to do the will of God. In her sinless and virginal obedience to the will of the Father she becomes the cause of our salvation (St. Irenaeus). Where Eve failed, Mary succeeds, for the wages of the motherhood of Eve is death because she mediates the Fall where the wages of Mary’s motherhood is eternal life. Mary is the true tabernacle filled with grace who always faces the Father in an Eternal and joyful fiat. She attains a unity with the Trinity that surpasses all human expectations and imagination. Through her open receptivity to the working of the Holy Spirit in her soul she receives a supernatural elevation to union with God which bespeaks of her complete and utter holiness. As the handmaid of the Lord she gives herself in total gift and self-surrender to God her Divine Spouse. This is a requirement for virginity as it is meaningless when sought for its own sake but rather it is fecund when it is given freely as a gift of self. Mary’s perpetual virginity is necessary because she must not have divided loyalties; she must belong totally to her Spouse. Here Mary’s motherhood includes a willingness to be poured out for others – for all those embraced by the love of Christ, which involves an openness to all. In these qualities one can see the Church as Virgin and Mother. Holy Mother Church becomes a mother in her openness to the Word of God as she contemplates the sanctity of Mary, imitating her charity, and faithfully following the will of God. She is fruitful like Mary through the preaching of the Word and through the sacrament of Baptism wherein she gives birth to new Christians. For in the Creed we state that by the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus was conceived. The Church imitates Mary in giving birth to her members in a virginal way. For the Church contains in herself the living mystery of maternity. She is feminine and therefore, she is receptive to her Spouse. This spiritual regeneration accomplished through Baptism means that one can see the baptismal font as the womb of the Church being a font of grace as is Mary’s womb. For no one can understand the reality of the Church without considering the Virgin Mother Mary. The Church then as Mary is the Bride of Christ. For she being submissive to her bridegroom is presented before God pure and spotless. She is the Immaculata which is embodied in Mary. The Old Testament is replete with this kind of bridal imagery for God & Israel, especially in the prophetic books such as Hosea.

To be continued... 
--Rev. Harold B. McKale

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Solemn High Mass of the Assumption, Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul

Fr. Robert C Pasley, KCHS, Rector of Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church, Berlin, NJ, Diocese of Camden, invites all to Mater Ecclesiae’s 14th Annual Assumption Mass. The Choral High Mass in the Extraordinary Form will take place on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m., at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 18th St. and the Benjamin Franklin Pkwy in Philadelphia. Parking is available in the lot next to the Cathedral and there is an underground garage at the Sheraton Hotel on 17th Street.

The Celebrant of the Mass, who will also deliver the sermon, is Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth. Msgr. Wadsworth, originally a priest of the Diocese of Westminster, London, is now the superior of the Oratorian Community of St Philip Neri, an oratory in formation in the Archdiocese of Washington. Since 2009, he has been Executive Director of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), responsible for the proposal of English translations of Latin liturgical texts for use in places where the liturgy is celebrated in English.  Msgr. Wadsworth has written and lectured widely on both forms of the Roman Rite and the ‘ars celebrandi.'

Mater Ecclesiae’s High Choral Mass of the Assumption was begun fourteen years ago to thank and honor Our Lady for the establishment of Mater Ecclesiae, the first diocesan owned and staffed Traditional Latin Mass parish in the United Sates. “We wanted to feature some of the greatest works of orchestral/choral music ever written for the Sacred Liturgy,” Father Pasley said.

The setting of the Ordinary of the Mass will be the “Missa in Angustiis,” or “Lord Nelson Mass,” by Franz Joseph Haydn sung with full orchestra. Other works include the motets “Salve Regina” by Antonio Salieri (1750-1825), “Salutatio D.N.I.C.” by Ludwig Senfl (1486-1543), “Beata Viscera” by Gregor Aichinger (1565 – 1628), the “Adagio” from Concerto for 2 Oboes in G Major, by Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751), The “Hodie Maria Virgo” by Luca Marenzio (1553-1599), the Tantum Ergo” by W.A. Mozaert (1756-1791) and a Postlude, “Concerto for 2 trumpets in D Major,” by Giuseppe Maria Jacchini (1663-1727). The traditional hymns, “O Sanctissima and Hail Holy Queen,” arranged by the Music Director, Dr. Timothy McDonnell, will also be sung.

Father Pasley said “We wish to thank His Excellency, Archbishop Chaput, as well as the rector of the Cathedral, Father Dennis Gill, for this great privilege. Please spread the word about this most grand celebration of Our Lady’s Assumption.”


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